Languages: Time Dreams Avatars

* a short preview of the installation

This project is part III of a long term ongoing research through creative practice. For previous parts visit: The Liminal Space & Liminality II.

My work uses visual arts as a means of liberating the intangible essence of our experiences and feelings of living ‘through’, ‘with’ and ‘in’ more than one language simultaneously in our everyday life.

The piece is based on materials created by bi/multilingual children between 6 and 15-year-old during art workshops, which aimed to explore through creative tasks what is like to live in-between languages and their impact on our lives. The process of gathering visual qualitative data showcases the potential of cross-disciplinary approach where creative practices contribute to a scientific field such as linguistics.

I am approaching the bi/multilingual personality as a collage of languages, each language being integral part of our identity.

Around 60 children took part.

'Languages: Time Dreams Avatars' was possible thanks to EMFS and their wonderful team who provided me the opportunity to collaborate with various schools and who supported me during the process.

The project was commissioned by Edinburgh Multilingual Stories Festival and presented during the Festival at Assembly Roxy from 30th Nov to 2nd Dec. 2018.

*Later in 2019 the project was awarded the 3rd Prize for Visual Representations of Multilingualism by the British Association for Applied Linguistics.


Art Installation/ Motion Graphics

Projection Mapping/ Research Project


After Effects

Resolume Arena 5


2xCasio Projectors

3840x1080 | length: 3:18min | loop

The workshops gathered visual data on the topics of languages & time, languages & dreams and languages & avatars.

The languages & time theme explored the pattern of speaking different languages in the daily life and analysing what activities are related to the change/switch of language. The children produced clocks with annotations, collages and drawings in order to illustrate their linguistic pattern. The languages & dream theme studied the relationship between what languages we speak/know and in what languages we dream.

It aimed to make the children question and think about the connection between our dreams and the languages we practice. Often individuals have dreams in languages that they don’t speak fluently in real life, or dream in mixed languages. The third theme, languages & avatars, asked the children to free their imagination and think of language as someone or something, as a persona/character or an object. This exploration was based on association that the children can make based on what they like about their favorite language.It also aimed to give language a completely different quality, to give it a shape and re-think language in an unconventional way through a creative process.

The art installation is entirely based on visuals created by the children. It aims to showcase the magical world of languages by presenting the data in a visionary way.

The goal of the workshops was to make the children think about their linguistic experiences, which they may be taking for granted, since they are growing up as bi/multilingual and the boundaries between switching from one language to another seem blurrier in comparison with bi/multilingual adults.

Special Thanks to the Children from:
Bulgarian Saturday school at Leith Academy
Edinburgh Chinese School at Drummond Community High School
St. John’s RC Primary School 

* some examples of the artwork produced by children on exploring multilingualism. The artworks in total are over 60.

* double click to enlarge


The future development of the project will aim a deeper analysis of the data and the development of an animation with structured narrative. Also, I am currently collecting audible data, which will be used for the creation of a soundtrack for the animation.The next step of development will include the creation of even more immersive and complex projection mapping installation, which will take the audience on a journey into the multilingual mind.

I would also like the children to be part of the animation making process.

Elina Karadzhova © 2020

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